Cusiter heads for the Top 14

Border Reivers captain and Scotland scrum-half Chris Cusiter will join French Top 14 side Perpignan at the start of the next Northern Hemisphere season on a two-year deal.

Cusiter has 31 Scotland caps to his name and represented the British & Irish Lions on the 2005 tour of New Zealand, and is one of Scotland’s most important international players.

His move to France will be a blow to the SRU, who had hoped to retain their international players after the Reivers franchise was closed in order to strengthen Scotland’s other two regions with Border players.

But Cusiter has plumped for the bigger riches and the higher-profile league on offer in France, taking the chance to play at one of the best-supported clubs with relish.

He will link up with Scotland international team-mate Nathan Hines in Perpignan, but with the row over club v country escalating, Scotland coach Frank Hadden may not be too impressed.

“With the unfortunate news that the Reivers will close at the end of the season, I felt like I needed a change,” he said on Wednesday.

“So the prospect of playing for a big club like Perpignan, who have a great set-up and a massive following, was too good to turn down.

“I’ve been with the Borders for four years now and the club has been really good to me. Over the past few seasons, I’ve done my best to try and give something back to both the club and the community for the support they’ve given me.

“I have met a lot of great people in the Borders and had the honour of playing alongside some very talented players.

“I have also been lucky enough to have worked with some great coaches like Tony Gilbert, Rob Moffat and Steve Bates who have all had a big influence on my career. I’m very grateful for all that they have done for me over the years.

Reivers Head Coach Steve Bates could not disguise the magnitude of the loss he felt Scottish rugby would suffer as a result of Cusiter’s departure.

“Chris has been a huge part of this club since he came here in 2003,” he said.

“He is a well respected member of the team and a consummate professional. He sets a positive example to our younger players and those that he meets in the community.

“I’d like to thank Chris for everything he has done for the team and wish him all the best for the future.”


365 Digital

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